So I've just started my job at IAIA which, for those who don't know, is an arts college specializing in contemporary Native American and Native Alaskan arts, including 2D, 3D, photography, ceramics, jewelry, new media, etc. I went to their museum Sunday near the Santa Fe plaza and saw the most awesome things.
Anyway, the office they've given me has a book shelf and I noticed two student poetry anthologies sitting there. I borrowed them for a weekend and had a good time reading recent student poetry.
The first anthology I read was from the 2007-2008 school year and called Radical Enjambment, Neo-Modern Literature from IAIA. I loved the poems from Ungelbah Daniel-Davila, once called "Bench Seats" about a difficult relationship with great lines like
I keep you in the back of my throat
like words I used to know
digging in the dirt for every piece I've lost.
"Last Dance" is another good one, a repetitive frolicking incantation of lines like:
Dance me out of bed.
Dance me into the triangle of light...
Dance me out of my skin.
Daniel-Davila also has two prose poems in there I like, "Sex in the Soda Shop," a pop culture piece, and "Birthday," a really amazing break-up monologue by a tormented older narrator and his young carefree girlfriend that is both raw and funny.
Monte J. Little has a poem called "Willing to Remove My Hands From my Eyes," an almost surreal meditation ending with the decisive line I can see what to hold true which creates a very pleasant counterpoint.
Anna Nelson has "Exeunt, For My Daddy," a very powerful and direct father tribute to an absentee father. Nathan Romero has "Afternoon Delight," a very funny bit of gossip in verse,
how do I put this/delicately.../well/she must've been getting/her grass trimmed for free"
you know/I'm not one to talk"
Finally, Sinte Jackson Torrez has "Infinite Now," a meditation on the pace of today and a rush to exist.
Birds and Other Omens is the anthology from 2011/2012. Autumn Gomez has a good one called "Everywhere is War," similar to "Infinite Now" and its take on the chaos and insanity of modern life, closing on the powerful image:
"Let me tell you that you are dripping candle wax/from your mouth and neck."
She also has once called "Treaties" about a relationship. Her finales are great:
"My hair grew out and I stood up,/wanted to play in the dirt/force mud down your throat.
Another Anna Gomez one is "Petrology." I love how she attacks relationships and existing with emotions with an with almost riot grrrl anger:
"My stomach is filled with rocks.
I have to spit them
when you are not looking."
My last favorite is from Anna Nelson, back in this edition with "Plains," a poem that plays on identity, reality and mythology during a highway trip following the Indian rodeo circuit:
"somewhere between Casper and Cheyenne
that your heart was assailed by my many arrows
me in my buckskin dress and single black braid
straight down my back
you leaning on the jukebox
looking like yoakam"